Streaming’s missing menu, regional sports shake-up

This week on TechHive: The streaming menu you’ve been missing

One of the best ways to discover new things to watch on your smart TV or streaming device is also one of the least obvious.

I’m referring to the search menu, which does more than just search for specific movies and shows. On most streaming devices, the search section functions as its own little TV guide, with recommendations from across your different streaming services. Some individual apps, such as Netflix and Max, have similar discovery features built into their own search menus.

If you only think of the search menu as a way to track down specific titles—as I’m admittedly guilty of doing on occasion—you’re missing out.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

All about Matter Casting: Also on TechHive this week, I’ve got a deep dive into Matter Casting, an Amazon-led effort to build an open alternative to Google’s Chromecast and Apple’s AirPlay.

The most compelling feature of Matter Casting is that it ties directly into the apps on your smart TV or streaming player. If you launch a video from, say, Amazon Prime with your phone or tablet, you can then pick up your remote and get all the same controls as if you’d opened up Amazon’s TV app. This could be especially useful for live TV services, where you might want to switch channels with the remote after launching the video from your phone.

Still, it’s unclear what kind of uptake Matter Casting will get. So far, only a handful of streaming services have pledged to support it, and it only works on Amazon’s Echo Show 15 for now, with Fire TV playback to come later. You can read more nitty-gritty details in my full TechHive report.

Amazon’s regional sports shake-up: Amazon is swooping in to pull Diamond Sports Group out of bankruptcy. In exchange for a minority investment, Amazon will sell subscriptions to Diamond’s regional sports networks (currently known as Bally Sports) through its Prime Video service. This should, in theory, end the uncertainty over Diamond’s ability to carry local baseball, basketball, and hockey games.

A lot’s still up in the air, though. Diamond only has streaming rights for five of the 11 Major League Baseball teams that it carries on cable, so presumably Amazon and Diamond will need to keep negotiating with the league to cover the remaining markets.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s and NHL’s existing deals with Diamond allowed them to broadcast some games over-the-air, while also returning broadcast rights to the leagues after this year. Diamond would be able to undo those deals if a judge approves the restructuring, The Athletic reports. Stay tuned, as the regional sports drama is far from finished.

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More catch-up

Save more money

We’re a bit thin on new streaming deals this week, so allow me to suggest something streaming-adjacent: Anker’s Space A40 noise-cancelling earbuds are on sale for $56 with the promo code SSDNA539, just a buck more than Black Friday. I own these earbuds myself and they’re an excellent value.

Most streaming platforms support Bluetooth earbuds, so you can watch TV without bothering anyone else, and the Space A40s support a Bluetooth feature called Multipoint that can automatically switch between two paired devices. That means you can keep the earbuds connected to your TV and your phone without revisiting any pairing menus. (I wrote more about Multipoint in Advisorator.)

Got a Roku? Note that only a handful of players and TVs support direct Bluetooth connections. On other Roku devices, you can keep the earbuds paired to your phone and listen privately through Roku’s mobile app.

Other notable deals:

Thanks for reading!

Let me know if you have any questions about streaming or cord cutting, and thanks again for considering a paid subscription to Advisorator. Being able to produce independent tech journalism like this is a privilege, and I’m grateful for your support.

Until next week,

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